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Foundation Truth, Number 15 (Autumn 2006) | Timeless Truths Publications

The Word of Truth

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”* (2 Timothy 2:15)

Why did God allow killing?

God gave the commandment to Israel that they should not murder, but we read about them killing on the way to the promised land and after they got there.


“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at [overlooked]; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.”* (Acts 17:29-30)

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”* (Romans 2:14-15)

“To declare, I say, at this time his [God’s] righteousness: that he [God] might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”* (Romans 3:26)

These three scriptures all speak of the perfect justness of God. He does not do things under the idea that might makes right. He does things justly, according to the precepts of moral law.

When man fell and defiled the moral nature within him through the sin of Adam and Eve, he lost inward consciousness of what he had been. He lost his vision of moral law. God’s dealings with mankind since the fall in the garden have been progressive in nature, restoring to human consciousness the nature of his sinful state and the nature of how he had been created.

Many human lives were lived during the long progressive enlightenment of the pre-Abrahamic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Law, the prophets, and finally the New Testament. God deals and dealt realistically and fairly with every human being through all these dispensations of time. He knew what manner of lives men were capable of living before the atonement of Jesus, and He knows what we are capable of living by His grace since the atonement.

Jesus told the Pharisees, “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”* (Matthew 19:8)

Notice that there was an accommodation of the hardness of men’s hearts. Moses suffered it to be so, and God suffered it, too, at that time—the Mosaic Law. Now, however, in the New Testament with Jesus, men could and were required to live to a higher standard. From the beginning, it was not so.” In the next verse, the restored standard is clearly held. “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”* (Matthew 19:9) The impact of this is further indicated by the disciples’ reaction in the next verse.

This higher, restored standard is evident everywhere in the New Testament. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”* (Matthew 5:38-39)

Again, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”* (Matthew 5:43-45)

In the New Testament, not only should we not kill, we should not hate. Living to this standard is only possible by the grace of God with a changed heart. It does not work as well as it should with only a justified heart, for the entire New Testament is geared to a wholly sanctified experience.

Now, to the question. God loves everybody and wants no one to kill anybody else. Yet, He knew that mankind would kill and did not have access to grace in the Old Testament in such a way as to suffer as we are required and as Jesus left us an example in the New Testament. He therefore suffered it, overlooked it, and channeled it into a lesson of right and wrong instead of just outright selfish aggression. He tolerated it within limits because mankind could not fairly be expected to do better; but God did not like it, nor was He satisfied with it. He found fault with it (Hebrews 8:8-13). He did not allow David to build a house (tabernacle) for Him because of this: “But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.”* (1 Chronicles 28:3)

In manifesting this fairness and patience with mankind, God ran a risk with us. That risk is that we would get “stuck” with the wrong idea of why He dealt with us so. We would justify the weakness and sin of the Old Testament, concluding that God was pleased with that standard back there, and thinking that the standard of the New Testament was merely an ideal that it was not possible to attain in this life. That is exactly where the nominal Christian world is right now. Instead of realizing that God tolerated all that to lay a foundation for faith in the delivering power of the gospel, they “do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”* (Matthew 22:29) And in that, they do greatly err.

God is indeed just and the justifier of him who trusteth in Jesus. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”* (Romans 1:16-18)

You might say, “I don’t like it. God appears to contradict Himself.” To which I would reply, “Not if it is properly understood. If the Word of God is rightly divided on this point, the righteousness of God is revealed.” Furthermore, it could be added, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”* (1 Corinthians 3:19-20) If one wishes to believe that God’s standard of holy living is less than the New Testament reveals it to be, they can rest their case on the standard of the Old Testament, only to have their unbelief revealed in due time. Yet, I wish to say that God is just as fair with the amount of light and understanding that people have now as He has ever been. He shines enough light upon every man to fix responsibility rightly and justly. “The true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”* (John 1:9)

What does it mean to be “salted”?

“For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”* (Mark 9:49-50)

What is this “salting” referred to here, please?


Salt absorbs water, so bacteria cannot activate in the food. In this way, the food is preserved. The moisture in the food is a natural consequence. In meat, for instance, the tissue is normally juicy, and this juiciness adds greatly to the flavor and taste of the food, whereas dryness is not so desirable.

All of this wonderfully describes the natural feelings and emotions of a human being, the inward moisture of the natural life. We are made to be juicy, so to speak, and are full of thoughts and feelings, curiosities, and imaginations that make us interesting and flavorful. These things, in their proper place, are just fine, for God made us with these capabilities and looked upon His creation and pronounced it good.

But when it comes to dealing with the overall eternal aspects of our immortal souls, these human qualities do not serve us so well, for “it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”* (Jeremiah 10:23) There is a place for my human feelings and thoughts to be exercised, but it is not adequate to the job of living spiritually in all the trials of life.

So, how can a man still be a human being, and yet be led and preserved by the Lord? It is by means of the salt from heaven. This precious salt preserves the flavor of our humanity (including our individual flavor), and yet keeps and preserves us from the natural inclination of the flesh to drift into paths of our own fleshly inclination. This is a marvelous thing and much unperceived or doubted by many; yet it is one of the wonderful ways of the Lord, who “is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”* (Jude 1:24) We might rephrase this scripture to say that God is able to salt us so as to keep us from falling and to present us faultless.

So here we have it. God does not strip us of our humanity to serve Him. It is not necessary to be an angel to live for God. It is necessary to be salted. He changes corruptible men into saved men and has a process to preserve them as saved men.

So how does this work? Well, let us start with a description of a spiritual bacteria. This particular bacteria is called ambition, also the desire to excel, and my family was deeply infected with it. I think it is in most humans in lesser or greater quantity, but we were full of it. It inspired a great deal of industriousness and goaded us to do our best, and that was the flavor of lives. There was a prideful taste to it, too. But God in mercy began to deal with my soul. First He dealt with me about my rebellions, my sins. That was the first taste I had of the deep love of God for me and His abhorrence of any sin or corruption. It stung, and it broke my heart, this heavenly salt. I yielded to the insistence of God’s love for me, and He surgically removed the rotten tissue from my heart. How happy I was then! How I rejoiced in His salvation and sang His praises! The salt burned, but it preserved me from deadly infection, and I understood and rejoiced in the same.

But as I lived for Him who had changed me, I became aware that in my flesh was no good thing, even natural feelings and desires (such as ambition) that would corrupt me again and spoil me by bringing me to sin unless something was done. They would enter into my natural thinking, and before I even realized it, I would began to get rancid, then to putrefy, finally to rot. And, upon application to my Source of Strength, my Lord showed to me the necessity of wanting above anything else what He had for me, even to the removal of a hand, a foot, or an eye (Mark 9:43-48). That it were better to be maimed than to burn. And He added these words, “For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.” Then I realized that He wanted to fill me with perfect love for Him, a supreme love that would suspend my humanity in His love and only release my humanity in His order, at His direction. And so He led me step by step into a sacrifice that was complete and pleasant in His sight. He charged me with guarding that same sacrifice from each vain desire and supplied me with warnings and checks in the person of the Holy Spirit. My natural ambition, my hunger to see and know and understand, dried out before Him. I lost the desire to know on my own, and I was led to consecrate that I would know only what He wanted me to know—no less and no more. It seemed that my taste within me, what made me to be me, was going, and I knew not myself any longer; but it was not really so, for the unique me was there, preserved in the bonds of the will of God for me. I was still me, but a purged, dedicated me, in which to live was Christ and to die was gain. Oh, wondrous heavenly salting! There is nought like it! Truly, every sacrifice is salted with fire! The wondrous, burning love removes that which will respond to corruption, thus preserving God’s saints from themselves.

I soon found that to relax from the consecration to which I had been led would diminish the saltiness of the salt. That the battleground of my soul was on a different level from previously. Instead of trying to keep just above the line of demarcation between right and wrong, I now labored to keep above the line of demarcation between perfectly consecrated and not perfectly consecrated; i.e., between saltiness of heaven’s strength and a diluted saltiness. Thus I was preserved from sin (corruption). I learned to highly value the taste, the piquant tartness of the heavenly saltiness. I learned to value it in my brethren. It is only safe to live in this way; all below this is too low. I learned that God values this saltiness highly.

“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”* (Colossians 4:6)

Ah, to answer every man from a wholly consecrated, sanctified standpoint! What apples of gold in pitchers of silver! “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing.”* (1 Peter 3:9) We read about the saltiness of the angel in Jude 1:9 and marvel at how the angel was so easily able to avoid taking things into his own hands. The devil was wrong, arrogant, demanding, and overbearing, as is his wont; but the angel effortlessly stayed within the grace of God and “durst not bring against him a railing accusation [much as the devil deserved it], but said The Lord rebuke thee.” He just continued to do what God had set him to doing, Satan’s wrath ignoring. Glory! Praise God for the saltiness of heaven’s mighty salt!

It was saltiness that enabled the prayer, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”* (Luke 23:34) His spirit was willing, but His flesh was weak; but the saltiness of heaven’s salt made it possible for Him to maintain the right attitude and carry out His Father’s purpose to die, bearing the sins of the entire world, thus to make an atonement for us that would save to the uttermost. While in the body, He was able to do the works of God, because that body was salted with fire.

We carry within us the seeds of our own destruction in the corruptibility of our humanity. The flesh is simply weak, but God has provided something that will dry out the natural moisture (life) of the flesh and preserve the soul. “Every sacrifice shall be salted with fire.” Every thought, every impulse, every desire of the soul is brought under the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

“The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”* (Psalm 116:6-9)

“The Lord preserveth all them that love him.”* (Psalm 145:20)

“He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom [the wisdom of heaven’s saltiness] entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion [even the peculiar discretion of saltiness] shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.”* (Proverbs 2:7-11)

“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.”* (Jude 1:1)

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”* (1 Thessalonians 5:23)